Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: Errand

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    108
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Errand

    May I use the noun 'errand' in a serious text with the meaning of going somewhere on firm's business, performing some tasks, arranging things, particularly with power of attorney in hand (taking/delivering correspondence, obtaining legal documents like excerpts, court deeds etc.)?

    Isn't it a little bit old-fashioned? Would it be found a little demeaning to a person who is doing it?

    What verb should I use to give it a formal sounding?

    Or maybe there is a verb created directly from this noun: errand,errands, erranded, erranding?

    I would appreciate your assistance since the dictionaries I had looked into were not very helpful.
    Ewelina

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    Hi Ewelina,

    You are correct to suspect that "errand" carries a connotation of subordination - one might send a child or even a secretary to "carry out an errand", but one would not send one's boss to do so, for example.

    I would probably use the verb "represent", as in "my colleague will represent me in these matters." This conveys an equality of status.

    As to your other question, there is no commonly-accepted verb "to errand". It would immediately sound unnatural.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    108
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    I understand your point, Coffa.

    I accept the natural assumption of subordination resulting from the usage of the word (f.i. it's common that some clerical tasks are performed by junior lawyers, paralegals or legal assistants in law firms).

    However, I was definitely trying to avoid the connotation similar to the 'errand boy' phrase or 'my secretary runs on errand for me...' (like paying personal bills, going to laundry shops, taking the employer's dog for a walk etc.).

    So:

    1) Is it possible nowadays to run on errand for a firm-your employer (which is not the same as your boss)?
    2) Isn't too old-fashioned word?
    3) Is it formal language (f.i. would it be proper and not demeaning to use it in someone's CV)?
    3) what verb would you use to sound formal and serious: run on arrand, go on errand?

    Please advise.
    Ewelina

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    671
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    1) Yes, it's possible. It still sounds incongruous to me though. I can't imagine writing it. I'm not a lawyer though, so I couldn't comment on whether it might be appropriate in that context.

    2) No, I wouldn't say it was old-fashioned. In some contexts, "doing an errand" sounds quite natural. It just doesn't seem appropriate in a professional situation to me.

    3) Again, if I read the phrase in a professional CV, it would convey a very junior position.

    4) I understand your question. However, the verb is far less important than the noun in my opinion. "Run an errand", "do an errand", "go on an errand" do not have a noticeable difference in sense. All convey doing something of little importance.

    I still believe that it would sound more formal to use a form of words such as "I acted as a facilitator on behalf of the firm in the matters of..."

  5. #5
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    Yes; an "errand" is usually performed by an inferior (or a child).

    There are various suitable alternatives for a formal context, such as "act on behalf of", "execute a commission", etc., but much depends on the nature of the "errand".

    Are you able to provide an example?

    MrP

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    108
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    I appreciate your help everybody.

    I was just looking for a very general phrase which might contain all kind of meanings like dealing with documents and correspondence, arranging things, meeting with people of "GO and NGO", but definitely not completing deals, signing agreements, running negotiations as well as not strictly secretarial stuff.

    So, as you pointed out, it would be a scope of responisbilities belonging to junior staff like paralegals? And it wouldn't bear pejorative sense, right?

    Ewelina

  7. #7
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,585
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    Hello Ewelina

    I think "errand" is best avoided. It would sound very odd indeed.

    Could you put "general administrative duties", and then give one or two examples of the more "responsible" tasks?

    MrP

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    108
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Errand

    I have to think it through, really. Thank you guys for your help

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk